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Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics

Ed. by Rutten, Gijsbert / Auer, Anita / del Valle, José / Vosters, Rik / Pickl, Simon

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2199-2908
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Evidentiality in Early Modern English Medical Treatises (1500–1700)

Richard Jason Whitt
Published Online: 2016-10-12 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsl-2016-0014

Abstract

This study investigates diachronic trends in the use of evidential markers in Early Modern English medical treatises (1500–1700), with data drawn from the Corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts. The state of medical thought and practice in Early Modern England is discussed, with particular focus on the changing role that Scholasticism played during this period. The nature of evidentiality and types of scholastic vs. non-scholastic evidence are given attention, and quantitative results are outlined. It is shown that as scholastic models of medicine gave way to more empirically-driven approaches, the use of evidential markers indicating direct perceptual and inferential evidence increased drastically, while the use of markers signaling reported information – particularly information mediated by classical authorities – decreased significantly. The results are finally discussed in light of discursive and typological considerations relating to contextual changes accompanying the reference to classical authors as sources of evidence, as well as the notion of “marked” and “unmarked” evidence types.

Keywords: evidentiality; Early Modern medicine; scholasticism; Corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts

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About the article

Published Online: 2016-10-12

Published in Print: 2016-10-01


Citation Information: Journal of Historical Sociolinguistics, Volume 2, Issue 2, Pages 235–263, ISSN (Online) 2199-2908, ISSN (Print) 2199-2894, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jhsl-2016-0014.

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